Well organized versus wild and wooly

cypress in creek

A growth of wild cypress on the east side of a stream crossing U.S. Highway 167 north of Hampton, Arkansas in late March, 2011. The glow of a setting sun bathes the scene in amber.

On the wild side, this creek full of roadside cypress growth  in south Arkansas, probably ignored by passengers and drivers in hundreds of vehicles passing daily, is a cacophony of color, shapes, angles, shadows, and shades. It is a macro universe supporting a cypress nursery, fish, turtles, snakes, lizards, frogs, and other cold-blooded critters who are probably looked upon as supper for the warm-blooded carnivores who are without a doubt members of the neighborhood as well.

On top of all that, it looks pretty cool and nary a soul has lifted his or her hands to manicure it or prepare it for public view. It just happened. And other than the price of gas (no small thing mind you), it is free for all to see.

Half Moon Bridge, Garvan Woodland Gardens

See Garvan Gardens at Corndancer dot-com

Compare our wild and wooly cypress to the well organized grounds of Garvan Woodland Gardens, near Hot Springs AR. Garvan Gardens is a world-class botanical garden bequeathed to the University of Arkansas School of Landscape Architecture by the late philanthropist Verna Cook Garvan. As opposed to the cypress growth, thousands gladly pay the modest entry fees to stroll through and observe the wonders of nature civilized by well manicured trails and bridges in Garvan Gardens.

With its unique woodland chapel and pavilion, Garvan Gardens is the site of dozens of weddings every year. You can see much more of Garvan Gardens on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story started. Click on the link and take a look. We’ll wait here.

View from the Half Moon bridge at Garvan Gardens

The view from Half Moon bridge at Garvan Gardens in its brilliant early spring mode. A set of steps allows garden visitors acess to get up close and personal with the small stream running through the chasm. Up to and including getting your feet wet.

Some would say there’s no comparison between the well organized and tended Garvan Gardens and our wild and woolly cypress growth. I beg to disagree. The same Higher Power created locations. Both are prime examples of their local environments. In their own way, both are eye candy. One may be a tad threatening to human visitors and one has the welcome mat out. Until the Garvan Gardens landscape was tamed, it probably had its share of natural threats as well.

Full Moon bridge at Garvan Woodland Gardens

Full Moon bridge at Garvan Woodlands Garden goes over a small stream which empties into a Koi pond. The bridge is part of the well planned system of trails in Garvan Gardens.

My observation is that while one location is a touchy-feely and the other is an “I’d just as soon not,” both have value. Both have their place. And we can enjoy both for what they are. So in the final analysis, in my humble opinion, as to the “well organized versus wild and woolly” conundrum, there are no winners and no losers. Just two venues doing what they do best.


Tulips at Garvan Garden entrance

See more pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery

See more Garvan Gardens and cypress pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery. You’ll see the Garvan Gardens entrance and its guardian tulips.

And you can peruse and ruminate upon the images of more of the bridges and some other cool stuff.  There are 13 pictures waiting on you.

Still lo-cal, high in natural content and very addicting. Fully guaranteed and warranted to entertain even the most calloused of souls. Click here.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind



Baring it in the winter

Old red bard

This old barn, resplendent in its winter mode is a familiar sight to the legion of kayaking, canoeing, swimming, picnicking, and hiking enthusiasts who frequent the Long Pool Recreation area, my destination for the day, on Big Piney Creek north of Dover, Arkansas. You can't miss it.

From the looks of things you are figuring this is a story about barns. You are partially correct.  Actually we are talking about what you see in the winter, when most people are staying home versus what you see in the warmer months when the folks who will venture out, well, venture out. It is my contention that there is more to see in the winter.

Old Arkansas Barn

Click on the barn for a full size picture.

Before we pursue that argument further, take a look at where this story started on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com. You will see another old barn and a close up of a remote intermittent water fall. Click here to go there. We’ll be here when you get back.

I had high hopes of catching a couple of waterfalls in a mid-winter display of their might a few miles from this barn east of the Long Pool Recreation Area on Big Piney Creek north of Dover, Arkansas. There had been plenty of rain in the general vicinity, but Mother Nature, in her fickle mode, chose to steer her latest deluge in the wrong direction to satisfy my hopes. Whom am I to question?

Never the less, the trip was worth it. The falls, one about 10-12 feet tall, and one towering to 44 feet, are ensconced in a huge hollow which is nothing short of spectacular. Boulders as big as a pickup truck line the outflow of the falls. The waterfalls are accessible only by a hike of nearly a mile in each direction and are not frequently visited.

waterfall near Long Pool Recreation area on Big Piney Creek

This is the smaller of two falls at this destination. This one is 10-12 feet tall. The larger one, which I did not have time to shoot properly is 44 feet tall. Just a trickle was coming over it.

There are two trails to the falls, one of which is close to treacherous. The trail, only a foot and a half wide in some places,  follows Big Piney Creek on the side of a steep hill which bottoms out in the creek. The other trail is an old road which leads to and from the recreational area. It is benign, but steep in places. I took the scenic route in and the safer route out.

Small falls near Long Pool Recreation Area

You see a great deal of detail in these pictures due to the even light on the falls. In summer months the difference between the bright and dark spots due to foliage makes a detailed shot such as this nearly impossible.

Listening to the trickle of the falls in their diminished intermittent mode was good therapy and I did not want to leave. However, I was covering new ground and believed it prudent to allow plenty of time to return to the trusty pickup. That being so, I did not capture as many images as I would have liked. However, I will have a keen eye out for reports of big rains in the area and then beat a path back.

white trees

These poplar trees south of Russellville AR on U.S. Highway 64 are a dramatic presence in this field. "Golden Hour" sun splashes over the scene.

If you have an opportunity, or conversely you have nothing better to do and want to do something different, make an opportunity and sally forth to see some winter magnificence. It awaits you.


waterfall closeup

Click here for more waterfall and barn pictures

See our weekly photo-only gallery which has all of the weekly Corndancer and Grist pictures, plus some cool ones which are not displayed on either site.

This week there are nine pictures. See more angles on  the Corndancer barn and views the waterfall you’ve observed on this page. Click to here to go there.

Thanks for dropping by

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


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